Emmett Skilton says Kiwi web series inspired by 'difficult dating experiences'

Holly Shervey and Jess Sayer in Auckward Love

Holly Shervey and Jess Sayer in Auckward Love

Its first season was made on a tiny budget and featured a group of relatively unknown actors. But that hasn't stopped Auckward Love from being shown in web festivals around the world and generating enough interest for a second season.

The brainchild of Emmett Skilton and his partner of three years, Holly Shervey, the local series is about friendship and romance as experienced by four female friends – one of whom, Alice, is played by Shervey. The other leads are played by Luci Hare (Vicky), Jess Holly Bates (Grace) and Jess Sayer (Zoe).

Auckward Love's first season was popular on TVNZ On Demand and it has played at web festivals in Los Angeles, Melbourne and London.

Holly Shervey and Emmett Skilton

Holly Shervey and Emmett Skilton

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"I'd describe it as the ins and outs of the dating world," says Skilton.

"We do it so you don't have to. It shines a light on all those difficult dating experiences so you can relate and realise your life isn't so bad because it's happened worse to somebody else.

"The concept came from my fiancee. She had a lot of these great stories that she really wanted to put on the page. What we love watching wasn't being made in New Zealand – that candid, honest comedy that really exposes a demographic of people. In our case, it was twenty-something women. She didn't feel there was a voice for them."

Skilton, who was Norse god Axl in The Almighty Johnsons, is the series' director. He appeared briefly with Ben Barrington in Auckward Love's first season but for its latest one, he stuck to directing.

Along with Shervey, Skilton is one of the series writers, so is he the subject of any of the stories? 

"I will never tell you whether I am or not," says Skitlon. "I may be involved in some of them. But a lot of them happened before Holly and I were together. Call me her knight in shining armour, whatever you like. She doesn't have to have horrible dating experiences any more."

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Shervey and Skilton met through a TV actor friend. "It was Holly's birthday and her old flatmate Will Hall, who features in Auckward Love as well, was having breakfast with her and failed to tell her that he was also inviting all of his friends," says Skilton.

"So we ended up having a group breakfast for this girl I've never met. We hit it off and then we all went to the movies after that and the rest is history."

Auckward Love, TVNZ OnDemand.

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